Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Aegean Sea Cruise: Cairo, Egypt

We reached perhaps the pinnacle of this entire cruise, Egypt. It was the first time I’ve set foot on the African continent, so it was exciting for me in many ways. Our ship arrived in Port Said, Egypt after a full day at sea. We drive from port Said to Cairo as part of a secure caravan with police protection, and soldiers armed with guns. The nearly three hour drive was mostly open desert sand, with occasional developments here and there along the way. We elected to take a private tour, and not with a large group, so once we reached Cairo proper, we broke from the caravan and made our way through the busy streets. With over 20 million residents, Cairo is a huge, densely populated city. It is filled with contrasts of new and old Cairo. And by old I mean ancient, really ancient…like 5,000 years old ancient. The streets are chaotic and outright crazy. Cars whizzing around with no regard for lanes-or even the direction of traffic. Donkeys and horses, sometimes even sheep are walking in between cars. Horns honk to warn other drivers, and no one uses their turn signals, they just weave back and forth lanes which are painted merely as a suggestion. People cross streets casually virtually everywhere. It is not for the nervous driver. But it is exciting and has an energy level that rivals many cities. We started our day at the Sakkura step pyramids, which date back 5,000 years. This early pyramid design was the precursor to the Great Pyramids located in Giza, which we visited next. Pyramids of course are the final resting place for the Pharaohs, or kings of Egypt. Some pyramids took 20-40 years to build. The Great Pyramid was built with over 3 million stones, all moved by hand. They are a monument to their life and provide passage to the next life by building a place for their mummified body and things they will need in the after life. The ancient Egyptians perfected the mummification process and were geniuses in their time. In the interest of time, I’m going to post a few photos from the fist day in Egypt. I have hundreds of photos to organize and name. I’ll plan to post the Egypt photos over several days, so please be patient. For now, here are a few photos from the mysterious and magnificent Pyramids of Egypt:

above: this is a great shot because you can see the three Pyramids in a row. The one on the far left is actually the largest and most well known "Great Pyramid" (its an optical illusion from the position I was taking the photo). Egypt has 97 pyramids in total still standing. It is very likely there are more pyramids still below the sand, undiscovered as yet...

above: we attended the "Light and Sound Show" at the Pyramids. It was really cool and well worth it. My camera did not take great photos, but you get the idea.

above: Camel riders are everywhere at the Pyramids, seeking to lure money from tourists for photos or a ride.
We leave Alexandria, Egypt late tonight and then we’ll be at sea for the next two full days. I love being at sea, it will be a great way to relax and absorb the many things I saw and experienced while in Egypt. That's all for today's quick post. More tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by today, I truly appreciate it. “Assalamu alaikum” which is Arabic for “peace be upon you.
-Rick Rockhill


kenju said...

You are leaving a place I've been wanting to visit since I was about five.

Kanani said...

I LOVE this. Keep up the joy, keep up the good vibes. All is good.

Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to touch the pyramids. I just have a feeling that just by touching them I'll be transported back in time.

KathyA said...

What a wonderful cruise. Have you ever cruised on other lines?


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